Manna for Today

 

Freedom in Compassion (Luke 13:10-17)

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”

15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

17 When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.  (Luke 13:10-17)

 Learn it:

            This is now the third time Jesus has healed someone on the Sabbath in front of Pharisee’s.  This story is very similar to the other three.  In this story, there is a woman who has been physically disabled for 18 years.  It also points out that the problem she was experiencing was caused by an evil spirit.  Jesus sees her, has compassion, and then heals her.  At this healing the Pharisee’s are upset!  According to them, if this had happened on any other day it would have been a cause for celebration.  Since it was done on the Sabbath, it broke God’s commandment and therefore was a sin.

            Jesus is showing that the new law he is bringing is going to change things a bit.  There is going to be more emphasis on compassion, grace, and mercy.  It’s not to say the Law is unimportant.  It is just that part of obeying God is showing compassion to others.  That is the point he was making in showing how the Pharisee’s showed compassion to their animals by walking them to get water.  How much more should we show mercy to someone who is enslaved by an evil spirit?  By healing her it gave her the ability to rest on the Sabbath day as well.  What better day for someone to be healed by God than on the Lord’s day? 

 Live it:

            This is not the first-time compassion has come up in the book of Luke.  We see the Jewish leaders has a real problem with showing compassion to people.  They always wanted to follow the law.  Which is commendable but when it ignores hurting people then God has a problem.  This is what we call legalism.  It’s a thing we, myself included, get stuck on.  For example, say on a Sunday morning we get a call that someone is sick, hurting or has some other issue where they need help.  Should we tell them we will be there right after church, or skip church and help them immediately?  I think the most compassionate thing we can do would be to skip church and help them right away.  That would be showing the love of Christ to that person. 

            We must have our eyes open to see people in need.  There might be great church activities that we may have to miss if it means we can show God’s love to someone else.  Now, we shouldn’t make a habit of missing things because fellowship with believers is critical to a person’s spiritual walk.  But it should not be something so sacred we cannot ever miss it.  As with all things in life we have to find a balance and be obedient to what the Holy Spirit is calling us to do.


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We Have a Decision to Make (Luke 12:49-13:9)

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

13            Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

8 “ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’ ”

Learn it:

            This section of Scripture is intense.  This is a side of Jesus that some people like to ignore.  We see that Jesus came to bring division because when a person decides to follow him it may mean that they will be rejected by their family (12:49-53).  He knows they can predict the weather and now they have to look at his ministry and decide is he the Son of God or just a teacher (12:54-56)?  He then goes on to warn them that they are all indebted to God and we have to come clean to God one way or another (12:57-59).  We can either accept the offer of Jesus Christ as our Savior or there will be punishment.

            In chapter 13 he makes it clear that life is brief, and we do not know when we will die.  People who die young did not die because of their sin but because it was their time (13:1-5).  There is an urgency to the decision we have to make on who Christ is, otherwise, we will be cut down like the fig tree (13:6-7).  Even though there is urgency God is patient with us but someday his patience will stop (13:8-9).      

Live it:

            As a follower of Christ, this section makes me think about the decision I made to follow Christ.  Did I lose relationships because of my decision?  Yes.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely.  What about the people I know that do not believe in Jesus Christ?  This section should put a burden on me to tell them about Christ.  They need to know there is a loving, merciful God who loves them and wants to be in a relationship with them.  God wants to spare them from being separated from him for eternity.  Pray that God would use you and he would open their eyes to the truth of the gospel. 


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Are You Ready for the Return?  (Luke 12:35-48)

“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

41 Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”

42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.

47 “That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:35-48)

Learn it:  

In this passage Jesus is giving a warning to all people that we have to be ready. We must be dressed for service and always have our lights on. The first parable is about how we do now know when Jesus will return so we have to be ready at any moment for his return. We have to be like the people waiting for the master to return at any moment. We cannot slack off. As Christians, we never stop doing Kingdom work. We always look for ways to serve and give glory to God. Just like a good babysitter who is expecting the parents to return at any time. They want to be caught doing something good and not bad. We must live our lives the same way.

The second half of the passage talks to us about not getting lazy. We have to continue to love God’s people. The way we live our lives now will affect our eternity. We could enter heaven with just ourselves our there is a possibility of entering in with rewards. It is all about how we will live our lives now.

Live it:

Do you live your life expecting that Jesus could come back at any moment? It is a hard to keep your mind with that kind of focus. It is so easy to think, “It’s been 2000 years since he left, what are the odds he will return today?” We assume he won’t be back today so we live the way we want to and say, “I’ll do better tomorrow.” We cannot think like that. We must live our lives expecting Jesus to come back right now. How do you want Jesus to catch you living your life? No one wants him to come back in the midst of sinning. How can you make serving God the priority in your life?


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Don’t Worry, Be Generous (Luke 12:22-34)

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

27 “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Luke 12:22-34)

Learn it:

            In the section before these Jesus taught a parable that warned against storing up wealth.  He now begins to address the topic more head-on.  He begins by telling his disciples not to worry about material things in their lives.  They should not worry about food, physical appearances, or what we will wear.  God will provide for us in every way that we need.  We should not worry ourselves to death making sure we have enough.  We must trust that God will get us through because all of that worrying will do nothing positive for us. 

            Jesus bases God’s goodness on nature.  He provides food for the ravens.  The lilies are considered beautiful and they are that way naturally.  Since God cares so much for animals and nature, how much more will he care for humans who are made in his image?  It should be the unbelievers who are pursuing material things because they do not know there is something much better waiting for us.  In response to trusting that God is going to provide for us, we should live a generous life.  Knowing that the things we have are from God and so we should us them how God wants us too.  That is to take care of the widows and the poor.  Knowing our true treasure is in heaven.

Live it:

            This is one of those passages that is nice to read but it difficult to live out.  It is in our nature to want to store up and make sure we have secure financially.  As a husband, and new father, I want to make sure my family will not go hungry and will have a place to live.  It can be hard to be generous when we do not have a large budget to live on.  Yet that is exactly what Jesus calls us to do.  He wants us to be generous with the things we have.  The only way we can be generous is if we truly believe that Jesus will provide for us.  This is an area that God has been working on me the most as an adult.  Being generous with my money.  Knowing that my true treasure is in heaven.  Nothing I by here will ever compare to being with Jesus in heaven.  How are you being generous?  Are you generous at work?  With your neighbors?  Are you tithing?  If you look at how you spend your money, where does it say your treasure is?   


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Pastor’s Corner